U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, July 2013 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

Google has shaken up the search engine optimization world a lot the past few years. After the Caffeine (2010), Panda (2011), Penguin (2012) updates many are wondering how to improve the rankings of their websites. And now Google has released Hummingbird – a completely new search algorithm. In it, Google attempts to understand the meaning of words, the real questions – so it can provide the right answers.

Especially on mobile devices, or using speech technology, people are asking Google real questions instead of typing in keywords. Google wants to be able to provide relevant answers to such a “conversational” search.

As the major search engine, Google will continue to try to give searchers more relevant answers and weed out spammers that force their way to the first page of the search results. So rather than trying to trick your way to the top, you better just build a good website to begin with. But what makes a good website?

  • Provide relevant content: text, images, videos and audio that your website visitors value, and possibly want to share. How often something is being shared matters for search engine rankings, how long people stay on your web page matters, how long people stay on your site as a whole matters. Content should flow naturally, and not be keyword-heavy – not should it be ad-heavy (especially not “above the fold”).
  • Provide good “architecture”. Like I mentioned before: time-spent-on-site is a factor in the search engine relevancy calculations. By offering visitors a good navigation menu, buttons, internal links and site search options will help you rank better. And it will also improve your conversions (from visitor to customer), and in the end that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
  • Provide a good experience. Download speed of a site is important. A lot of sites should be optimized for speed, which will improve both the search engine rankings and website conversions. Speed is especially important if you want to cater to mobile users. This group is growing exponentially, and having a fast site that has been optimized for mobile use will certainly pay dividends in the future. Do you have a mobile website yet?

A lot of it is common sense, really. Just improve your website!

For more information: contact your web developer, or website optimizer Nardo Kuitert at nardo@ucwebs.com or 519-787-7612. Nardo has written this column on behalf of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce since 2006.

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